Hedgehogs - Feeding
What do pet hedgehogs eat?
In the wild, hedgehogs eat a diverse selection of insects as well as some plant material and very occasionally small or baby mammals (like pinkie mice). Hedgehogs usually eat at night. As pets, hedgehogs should mainly be fed high quality hedgehog food. Small amounts of gut loaded insects (i.e. insects fed nutritious food that is then passed on to the lizard), such as worms and crickets and a small amount of fresh vegetables and fruits can also be offered. Check with your veterinarian regarding which vegetables and fruits are recommended. Avoid lettuce and celery, which are low in nutritional value and avocados, which might be toxic. Insects should be purchased from a pet store or raised in the home; care should be used in obtaining insects from gardens where insecticides and fertilizers have been used. Earthworms can be a very nutritious treat. Your veterinarian may be able to provide some tips on successfully raising your own insects to offer your hedgehog.
Hedgehogs have a propensity for obesity if the food intake is not monitored or controlled. Food given in measured proportions will help stop this problem.
Do I need to give my hedgehog vitamins?
Hedgehogs do not require additional vitamins if fed a properly balanced diet.
Can I offer my hedgehog treats?
As a rule, hedgehogs don't require treats, although an occasional offering of fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains is acceptable. Hedgehogs should not be fed raw meats or eggs. Hedgehogs are not able to digest milk, which may lead to diarrhea. Do not offer nuts, seeds or hard foods like raw carrot as they may get suck in the roof of the mouth (especially peanut halves). Don't offer any "people food" without checking with your veterinarian first.
What about water?
Water should be available 24 hours a day. Most owners choose to offer water through a sipper bottle hung in the cage. If using a sipper bottle, ensure that your hedgehog will drink from it. Check it whenever you change the water (at least daily) to make sure the sipper tube has not become clogged with food. Clean all food bowls and water sippers thoroughly with soap and water, and rinse well every day.
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